YUKSEKOVA, The Kurdish region of Turkey, —
Two off-duty soldiers were shot and injured in
Turkey's Kurdish-majority southeast [Turkey
Kurdistan] Sunday as scores took to the streets in
fresh violent protests, Anatolia news agency
The sergeants, dressed in civilian clothes, were
walking in the centre of the Kurdish town of
Yuksekova when they were shot from behind, the
report said, adding that police had launched a hunt
for the perpetrators.
The incident occurred as violence flared in the
southeast over the past week following a decision by
Turkey's electoral board to bar seven prominent
Kurdish-backed candidates from running in general
elections on June 12.
On Thursday, the board reversed its ruling for six
of the candidates, among them iconic Kurdish
activist Leyla Zana, in a move that notably quelled
smaller demonstrations continued Sunday to protest
the killing of a young man in the earlier clashes.
In the town of Bismil, youths hurled stones and
petrol bombs at a government building after Zana
visited the family of the protestor, who was killed
in pitched battles with the police there Wednesday,
Turkish police used tear gas and water cannons to
disperse the demonstrators.
There was similar unrest in some other towns in the
region, including nearby Batman, where police
detained some 30 people after a demonstration led by
a Kurdish member of the outgoing parliament turned
violent, the agency said.
Turkey's southeast has been the theatre of a bloody
insurgency led by the separatist Kurdistan Workers'
Party that has claimed some 45,000 lives since the
rebels took up arms in 1984.
Since it was established in 1984, the Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK has been fighting the Turkish state,
which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish
state in the south east of the country.
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous region and more cultural rights
for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more
than 20 million.
A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK
PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in
Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey,
reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action
against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population
as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural
rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish
language and private Kurdish language courses with
the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish
politicians say the measures fall short of their
The PKK is considered a 'terrorist' organization by
Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the
blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
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